Health fair to tour the Aleutian Chain
Always an eagerly anticipated annual event, Eastern Aleutian Tribes' traveling health fair will visit five remote communities on the Aleutian Chain in June. This is the third year the popular event will bring families together for health information and resources in a fun and festive atmosphere.
This year, the event at Sand Point will have a new participant when Nolan the Colon joins the tour. Nolan the Colon is an inflatable, interactive super colon, standing more than 10 feet tall and 25 feet long, designed to raise awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening. Nolan is big enough for people to walk through, so they can see what a healthy colon looks like and see how precancerous polyps can grow to become colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer ranks among the leading causes of death for Alaska Natives, and Natives are twice as likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer as non-Natives. Heavy alcohol use, tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk. But with a healthy lifestyle and appropriate screening, it is one of the easiest cancers to prevent. Because of time constraints in setting up the huge display, Nolan will only participate at the Sand Point fair, but plans are for the exhibit to be sent to other communities later in the summer.
This year's fair will emphasize the importance of immunizations with Michael Cassista, public health nurse with the state; nutrition with Frankie Mack, EAT's director of finance; cardiovascular health with Anna Buterbaugh, EAT's wellness manager; and exercise with Audrey Aanes. The event will include learning centers on prevention with the table on tobacco cessation manned by Kelda Barstad from the Department of Health and Social Services; diabetes by EAT's Louise Zeile, diabetes RN CM/educator; and HIV/AIDS/STDs by Robin Medina, EAT's director of grants. Diana Redwood, colorectal cancer program manager with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, will oversee the exhibit on colorectal cancer.
The hope is that our participants in the traveling health fair will think about what they can do to help make it easier for themselves and those around them to make healthy decisions — eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, incorporating physical activity into their daily routines, and maximizing healthy lifestyle choices, said Michael Christensen, EAT executive director. The fair will feature stops along the M/V Tustumena ferry route. The current schedule and locations for the health fair is:
Sand Point, June 9, from 10:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. The health fair will be held in the Net Shed.
King Cove, June 10, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.
The health fair will be held in the Boat Harbor Building.
Cold Bay, June 10, from 9:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The health fair will be held in the Community Center.
False Pass, June 10, 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. The health fair will be held in the Tribal Warehouse (at the end of the City dock).
Akutan, June 11, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The health fair will be held in the School Gym.
"These are estimated times," said fair organizer Anna Buterbaugh, "and will depend on the arrival of the Tustumena at each community."
Everyone is welcome to join in this community event.
Ladonna Lindley is special projects coordinator for the Eastern Aleutian Tribes.